Thursday, 6 October 2011

Panic in the kaurava court. Visiting Mahabharata 46

News of Pandavas being alive and their marriage reaches Kauravas. Sakuni, furious, suggests that they should attack. (Preemptive strike is not a new idea!) Some elders are not in favor; 'Pandavas are not helpless now! It is better to make up.' Karna has the opposite view, 'It is now or never, let us descend on them. We can vanquish them.' As this matched the mood of most, an army is collected and they march to Kampilya.

The war was short. The Kauravas are routed. The wrath of Pandavas was like that of a provoked snake. They were proved too strong! Duryodhana was inconsolable and heart broken. He was on the point of loosing his mind. 'Indeed the Pandavas are favored by gods. Here they are stronger than ever. Fate, after all, is too powerful. Strength and arms stand no chance against fate'.

Vidura having heard all the news, goes to his brother Dhirtarashtra. He uses the word Kuru deliberately while he speaks of children of Kuru house flourishing and adds: 'The eldest son is now married to the daughter of the king of the Panchalas'. Dhritharashtra falls into the trap set by his brother and thinks it is duryodhana and expresses his joy. When Vidura corrects his misunderstanding, he continues to pretend he is happy. 'It is even more pleasing news. I am very happy that the sons of my dead brother are alive and well'. Vidura replies; 'My lord, your words are now very sweet. I only hope that the feelings you have expressed will remain and your mind will not waver anymore'.

 This conversation makes it appear that the blind father is isolated from events around him and Vidura knows his brother too well! And that they are not comfortable with each other.

Duryodhana entering the palace overhears the later part of the conversation and is upset. After Vidura leaves he accosts his father 'What is all this I hear about the great joy in your heart on hearing that my hated cousins are alive? Are you dreaming? Are you not well?'. The king pacifies his son; 'I am more upset than you are. But I could not say it to Vidura. Tell me what should be done'.

 Duryodhana has no practical solutions. 'This hated team of five brothers has got to be broken. Can we bribe Drupada and make him friendly with us? Can Draupadi be used to bring dissension amongst them? We should kill Bhima. If he dies their spirit will be broken. Then it is easy for Radheya to kill Arjuna'. But laments; 'We are loosing time and I cannot bear to live if they come back to Hastinapura and live with us'.

Karna smiles at his friend but does not accept his friend Duryodhana's ideas. 'From the beginning, you under the advice of your uncle Sakuni have tried underhand methods. Have they succeeded? No! Not one! My suggestion is, fight. You are a Khastriya. You have us. The sooner we do it, the better. Fighting is the only honorable way. Saama, Daana, Bheda are all ineffective. You must use the fourth one, Danda.'

Dhritarashtra is pleased with the words of Radheya. 'Today there is to be a conference in the great Palace hall. Bheeshma, Drona and all the Kuru elders will be there to discuss the future of Pandavas and the Kauravas and let us proceed to the council hall'. The three then walk towards the council hall.

The atmosphere is now thick with politicking in the Kaurava court. I suspect very few would be aware of all this in those days, but today it would be a different story! I may be wrong! Walls had ears in those days too! 

Another interesting variation! Vachana Bharata does not mention the failed preemptive strike by Kaurvas which is narrated in Kamala's version.

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